Valencia in control of Europa League second leg against Villarreal


Two injury-time strikes swung the tie firmly in Valencia’s favour as they triumphed over their fellow compatriots in a 3-1 victory in thew first leg. With the initiative ruthlessly snatched from the Yellow Submarine, they make the trip to the east coast of Spain seemingly having a mountain to climb if they are to progress into the semi-finals.

The stoppage time goals for the visitors seemed like a reoccurring nightmare; only two weeks prior, Barcelona salvaged a draw through two goals in the last three minutes at the El Madrigal.

For the large part, the clash was a tight affair as both teams tussled to establish dominance in the 90 minutes. A packed crowd in attendance urged Villarreal to keep attacking, wanting a lead heading into the tricky second leg. Not content with taking a 1-1 draw to the Mestalla, the side threw caution to the wind and hurled men forward.

However, with a team desperately struggling in it’s domestic league, the same old story was witnessed by the home faithful. As what’s happened on numerous occasions during the season, the Yellows insecurities and naivety rose to prominence.

Saturday’s win against Girona provided Marcelino’s side with a confidence boost ahead of the all important second leg. The 1-0 win away from home thanks to an early goal from Samuel Chukwueze and the bonus of a clean sheet highlighted that Villarreal can be a threat away from the El Madrigal, having four out of their seven wins coming on the road.

Supplying a bright spark in a somewhat dark season for the club, young winger Samuel Chukwueze will be hoping to make an impact on the game. The 19 year-old Nigerian possess frightening pace that could play a factor in the clash on Thursday. With ten goals to his name in his breakout season for the club, Valencia will be weary of the danger he poses.

Yet the home side will be in positive mood as they look to progress into the final four of the competition. Winning four out of their last five matches, including giving Levante the same dose of medicine Villarreal got with another 3-1 victory at the weekend, they currently sit three points of fourth spot.

The last time the two sides met at the Mestalla was just three months ago, where the Oranges were the convincing winners in a 3-0 victory.

Team News:

The hosts are still without midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia who is still receiving treatment for a ruptured thigh. Kondogbia was also taken to hospital last week with bleeding from an intermuscular haematoma, where the player received immediate surgical treatment. It is unknown when the 26 year-old player will be discharged from hospital.

Meanwhile goalkeeper Jaume Doménech joins the injury list after picking up a muscle injury last week.

For the short trip to the Mestalla, Villarreal are missing full back Miguelon and experienced campaigner Bruno Soriano. Although there is some good news on the injury front as Jaume Costa and Javi Fuego have been given the green-light to return to action following their respective injuries.

Prediction: Valencia 2 – 0 Villarreal


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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